Legal Coercion In Drunk Driving Cases in Los Angeles

May 30, 2014

Legal Coercion In Drunk Driving CaseWhen a police officer influences a person to consent to a search, the consent is not valid. Such influence can be called “implied coercion”, and if it does, the court will throw out the results of a search. Search in DUI cases usually means obtaining blood or breath results after Los Angeles DUI arrest. If the court throws out the results of a blood test, the prosecutor will likely dismiss the DUI case because it is very hard to prosecute a DUI without blood alcohol results. In a federal case called Bumper v. North Carolina (391 US 543), police officers came inside a house by holding some papers in front of a defendant’s mother and telling her that they have a warrant and that if she wants, she can consent to the search of her house. She consented to the search and a rifle was found and introduced in evidence at defendant’s trial. Defendant was convicted of rape at trial and appealed his case. The conviction was overturned by the United States Supreme Court because the court decided that the consent of to the search was received based on legal coercion or implied coercion.

The Supreme court first used term “legal coercion” and “acquiescence to authority” was in 1948 in the case of Johnson v. United States (333 U.S. 10), where police officers smelled burned opium emitting from a hotel door and knocked and informed the defendant that they are the police. When the defendant opened the door, the police officer informed her that they want to talk to her a little bit. At this point, defendant “stepped back acquiescently” and admitted police into room. The court held that this is not a valid consent to search of the room and reversed defendant’s conviction because they decided that this was legal coercion. Prior to Johnson, in another similar case, a conviction was reversed by the Supreme Court based on “legal coercion” (or implied coercion argument when the Revenue Officers came to defendant’s house, who was not home, and told defendant’s wife that they came to search the house. Defendant’s wife opened the door and submitted to the search (Amos v. United States 255 U.S. 313).

If you are arrested for a drunk driving in Los Angeles, please contact our office to talk to Los Angeles drunk driving attorney. Our two offices are located in down town Los Angeles and in Tarzana.

We will give you a free consultation and analyze your case for issues related to search and seizure and legal defenses including legal coercion issues where police gets consent for blood or breath test by making you believe that you have to submit to the test.

Federal constitutional law trumps California attempts to legislate away your rights including any “implied consent” statutes. California law, such as Vehicle Code 23612 requires drivers to submit to a chemical test because of implied consent laws. This law is however in conflict with the federal law which can treat implied consent like a legal coercion. If you were forced to submit to a chemical test – Los Angeles DUI lawyer can help you defend against such injustice. Please contact DUI Los Angeles attorney (818) 921 7744 so we can explain to you how we can help you win your case. We specialize in the most difficult DUI cases and will be able to get great result for you or for your loved one. Call our office now to get quality defense at affordable price.

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